A world-famous acoustic guitarist will be conjuring magic with his instrument tonight at the Carrboro ArtsCenter.
Born and brought up in England, Clive Carroll has been performing since he was 10 years old. He is recognized by guitar maestros for his mastery of the acoustic guitar and has toured the world with guitar legends. A few of his fans include Guy Ritchie, Madonna and the Sultan of Oman.
It has been five years since Carroll’s last performance at the ArtsCenter due to visa and expense issues. Carroll said he doesn’t often perform in the U.S., so tonight’s performance will only be his second at the ArtsCenter.
“Clive Carroll is one of the finest, if not the finest acoustic guitarist performing today,” said Art Menius, executive director of The ArtsCenter. “It’s so rare that he gets to the USA from his home in northern England.”
Carroll will be performing mostly his own compositions for the show.
“It’s a very lyrical form of guitar-playing, rooted deeply in English folk tradition. It gives a very different flavor,” Menius said. “It has a rhythm that absolutely captivates.”
The style of Carroll’s music is modern and contemporary, but it is drawn from diverse genres — his repertoire ranges from traditional English to Indian music. The songs that he will be performing tonight will vary from upbeat swing and jazz music to slow ballads.
“Some pieces will sound like vast landscape, some will feel intimate, some will feel panoramic,” Carroll said.
“I don’t feel satisfied just writing a piece, it needs to have some strong sentiment behind it — it could be a person or a story or a mood — I try to make it sound as real as possible through music.”
Carroll was born into a family of musicians. His first instrument, a banjo, was made by his father and given to him when he was 2 years old.
“I couldn’t really play with it then,” he said. “I probably just fell over it.”
He later took up banjo and guitar lessons. His first job as a guitarist came when he was 10 years old, performing every weekend at gigs with his family band.
“My mum plays the Irish accordion and sings Irish country songs, my dad played the Appalachian banjo and bass, and my sister plays the guitar and sings,” Carroll said. “It was a mixture of Irish and country music.”
His journey took flight after that — Carroll performed gigs in rock and jazz bands, he studied composition and guitar in Trinity College, and then embarked on a solo career.
Carroll has recorded four CDs thus far. After playing in Chapel Hill, he continuing his tour to Memphis, Atlanta, Florida and end in Washington, D.C.
Menius said he hopes that audiences will enjoy this hard-to-get performance from Carroll.
“I hope they get that ‘Aha!’ moment, feeling like they’ve just seen one of the greatest artist in the world perform their art in an intimate setting,” he said. “There’s nothing quite like that feeling.”
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